Facebook has reportedly tied up with Luxottica, the Italian company behind brands like Ray-Ban, for its AR glasses. Codenamed Orion, the social media giant sees the partnership will help bring its AR glasses to market between 2023 and 2025. It has been working on augmented reality glasses out of Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, for the past couple of years. However, the development faced struggles and forced Facebook to look for outside help.
Mark Zuckerberg-led social media company sees its AR glasses as a possible replacement for smartphones. According to CNBC, the glasses will allow users to take calls and show information to users in a small display. Users will also be able to livestream their vantage point to friends and followers on Facebook. In addition to these glasses, Facebook is also said to be working on an AI voice assistant. The assistant will serve as a user input for its AR glasses.
It is also experimenting with a ring device codenamed Agios that would allow users to input information via motion sensor. The report notes that there are hundreds of employees at Facebook‘s Richmond offices working on this wearable technology. It has so far struggled to reduce the size of the wearable and turn into a form factor that will appeal to consumers. It is also not guaranteed that Facebook will complete or ship ship this AR glasses. The report further notes that Zuckerberg is personally interested in the device and has asked “hardware chief Andrew Bosworth to prioritize them.”
Augmented Reality is seen as the next major growth vertical for consumer electronics. Apple and Microsoft are also making big bets on AR glasses with Microsoft selling its HoloLens to enterprise customers. Apple is building the foundation with ARKit and is expected to launch AR glasses in 2021. Luxottica is the parent company of famed brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley and it also partnered with Google in 2014 for Google Glass.